Finland elections: Who is who and what are the key issues?
Aljosa Milenkovic in Helsinki
Finland votes on Sunday in a nail-bitingly close election, with Prime Minister Sanna Marin's center-left government fighting to hold on to power. Here are details about the frontrunners – and the key electoral issues.
Petteri Orpo – National Coalition Party (NCP)
Born in November 1969, Petteri Orpo holds a Master's degree in Political Science from the Finnish University of Turku. He served as the Interior Minister in 2015 during the migrant crisis when thousands of migrants illegally crossed the border from Russia. His actions back then were widely praised by both coalition members and the opposition. He was also Minister of Finance and the Deputy Prime Minister until 2019.
Sanna Marin – Social Democratic Party (SDP)
Sanna Marin was born in November 1985 in Helsinki. In 2017, she gained a Masters degree in Administrative Sciences at University of Tampere. Her political career started at the age of 19 when she joined the SDP youth. In December 2019, at the age of 34, Sanna Marin became the youngest Prime Minister in Finnish history. From August 2020, she formally assumed the leadership of the SDP, a center-left party.
Rikka Purra – The Finns Party
Born in June 1977, Purra is now completing her PhD on International Politics at the University of Turku. She joined the Finns party in 2016, and became the first deputy of the party in 2019. She then went on to become the leader of the party in 2021. Her political views are strongly based on immigration, where she is advocating for strong controls. The Finns Party is considered to be the right-wing party.
Almost all major political parties in Finland have a shared position on the Ukraine crisis. They all want to give Ukraine their full and unconditional support.
As Finland is in the final stages of NATO accession, all major political parties agree that they must become the alliance member – the main reason being the threat thought to come from Russia, with whom Finland shares a 1,300-kilometer border.
With foreign policies relatively unified, the main debating points at this election are social, welfare and budget issues. SDP wants to put more emphasis on improving education, expanding the social benefits program, and investing more in the healthcare system. The other two parties would like to impose stricter budget spending, and to reduce the national debt.
What do the polls say?
Polls suggest that the National Coalition Party would have a slight win over the other two main rivals, with a margin of up to two percent. SDP and Finns would end up neck and neck, but at the end of the day, a coalition government would be inevitable.